The second day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour concluded with the release of results in Indiana and Nebraska. Indiana samples resulted in an average corn yield of 113.25 bu. per acre. The final average corn yield for Nebraska is 131.79 bu. per acre. Pod counts in a 3’X3’ square yielded an average of 1,033.24 pods in Indiana and 894.43 pods in Nebraska.
Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst and eastern Tour Director Brian Grete says, "While the corn was improved from what I had seen on Day 1, there were still only two fields that I felt represented "good" corn for the area we were in. The other seven samples showed the effects of stressful growing conditions." Grete also noted a long stretch of hail damage in Tippecanoe County.
Indiana soybeans were benefiting from improved topsoil moisture after recent rains, according to Grete. He says that will help them fill pods, though most of the plants were done flowering.
Grete says conditions worsened "right at the border" into Illinois and noted this area typically produces top-end yields. He reports much of the corn sampled on Day 2 reflected stress to ear development and stalk problems. Another result of extreme stress was advanced development of the crop and a number of fields having been chopped for silage.
Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard reports high variability on his Day 2 route. "We recorded a low of 0 in Pulaski Co. and the next sample we pulled was our high at 188 bu. per acre on the other side of the county… neither field was irrigated," he explains. Soybean pod counts were equally varied on Bernard’s route.
"Being a bug, weed and disease guy, I was more in my element today," Bernard says. He found gray leaf spot and some corn ear worm. "In the soybeans we found the first SDS we’ve seen on this Crop Tour in Kankakee Co., IL," Bernard continues.
Like Grete, he notes weak ear shanks and says the integrity of the stalks was beginning to be an issue.
Western Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory says unfortunately, his route found exactly what they feared they see -- a poor corn and soybean crop in Nebraska. "I honestly didn't see the risk of a significant cut to USDA's corn crop estimate of 10.8 billion bushels. After two days on the western leg of the Tour, I now see a risk of a significant cut to the 2012-13 corn supply," he says.
Chip points to an encounter with a harvesting farmer yesterday (get more on this here) as an example of the wide variability of yields seen within the same field and the problem with kernel size this growing season. "In a normal year, it takes about 90,000 kernels to make a bushel of corn, but the dryland corn in Nebraska this year might make a half bushel with 90,000 kernels," Flory explains.
Soybeans were better than Day 1, Flory says, but he quips, "Beans on day 2 of the Tour were a lot like the economic data we see every day: It's not good... it's just less bad than expected."
Western Tour Consultant Jason Franck says his first four stops in southeast Nebraska yesterday were "a dream" as they averaged more than 200 bu. per acre. As he moved into dryland areas, yields declined, but Franck says this is where he was actually more impressed because "even though corn plants had shut down, consistency was much better within the fields and there was a much better ear:stalk ratio than we say on the first day of the Tour."
But he did wonder why harvest wasn’t underway as dryland corn there was at black layer. A local grower delivered the following answer: "The moisture range within the fields is from 12% to 25% and I'm done spending money on this crop."
Regarding the dryland corn, Franck says, "Each and every one of these fields had stalks that were weak and the nodes we stringy and necrotic… Corn through the combine and in the bin is worth more than it is if it's lying flat in the field."
Franck describes soybeans on his route as "remarkably good" with even dryland beans much improved over the first day of the Tour. "One big advantage to the soybeans on day two was the fact that very little disease was present. Additionally, most plants that we sampled had plump seeds in them and have the potential to finish well under the right environment," he reports.
Today, Tour scouts on the eastern leg will begin their day in Bloomington, Illinois and will end in Iowa City, Iowa with the release of official yield data for Illinois. The western leg of the Tour will depart from Nebraska City, Nebraska and end in Spencer, Iowa. The final results can be found at ProFarmer.com and AgWeb.com.
For More Information
See full coverage of the 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer.
Take your own field measurements and participate in Pro Farmer’s Virtual Crop Tour.